Hiking in the Saale Valley

Jena, Germany
Period of time: more than 24h
Price: from 507,20 € per person (Scale price)  
Category:: Laufen und Wandern

Organisational Details

Scale price: from 4 person 551,40€ per person
from 8 person 507,20€ per person

Participants: 4-15 person (Open tour)

Registration: 5 days before deadline

Languages: German, English

Early Booking: from 35 days 5% discount

Booking option: Booking on fixed rate

Description of Tour

The Saale has done a great job and dug a valley more than 200m deep into the limestone rock over thousands of years. Along the edge of the quarry, a 72km quality hiking trail has been developed in recent years, with a total height difference of over 2000m to overcome. Countless vantage points offer far-reaching views of the landscape and shady forest passages provide cooling in summer. Especially in autumn the beech forests provide a unique natural spectacle, Indian Summer made in Thuringia could not be more perfect. On 4 daily stages, this path can be hiked enjoyably and supplemented with some cultural highlights.

Tour itinerary

1.Day Welcome to Thuringia

Located in the middle of Germany, the arrival is on short ways. If you arrive early, numerous sightseeing tours are possible in advance. We will be happy to give you some recommendations. In the evening, your hiking guide will put you in the mood for the next few days with a short introduction.

Day 2 - 1st stage Saalehorizontale

The tour starts in the south of the city and from the valley it goes up to the Kalkberge on forest paths. The first views give a clear view of Drackendorf and the Lobeda district. Later we come across the remains of the Lobdeburg and a little above there is a perfect resting place with panoramic views of the southern Saale valley. An eye-catcher is the light castle visible in a good 20 km distance. After this rest it goes into a side valley. A forest with oaks and black pines provides pleasant shade, especially in summer, before more open slopes dominate the picture again later. The view to the west of Winzerla and Ammerbach and the green slopes of the Saale valley delight the hiker here. Further on, narrower sections of the trail follow, which are secured in places with wire ropes. (a little head for heights is necessary here). The striking Diebeskrippe - a rock fall - gives the trail an alpine character. Later, a rock-lined debris chute - also called student chute - crosses the trail. A little later follows the westernmost point of the Kernberge, the Kupferplatte with a magnificent view of the city centre with the Jentower and the Saale meadows. From here you can aim for the day's destination, but before that you have to turn into the next side valley. Through beech woods and orchards you soon reach the Fuchsturm, one of the highest elevations in the city at almost 400m. The cosy inn invites you to take a rest before returning to the valley. ( approx. 20 km, walking time approx. 5 hrs, /-470 hm)

3.Day - 2.Stage Saalehorizontale

Starting from the end point of yesterday's day, the route climbs back up the limestone cliffs to Jenzig, a fascinating panoramic view over the city invites you to linger. The path there leads through beech and oak woodland, mixed with open passages where the special meagre grassland can also be seen. Striking boundary stones line the way, some with coats of arms of the Wettins from the 15th century. From Jenzig the path leads into a side valley, sometimes over meadows, sometimes through forests and the village of Laasan with its half-timbered houses lies on the way. Now the path leads uphill again into the forest to the Großer Gleisberg with the ruins of the Kunitzburg. The view from here is magnificent in good weather, reaching the Dornburg castles and the city centre of Jena. The route then descends through shady beech forests into Gleistal, past the Königsstuhl - a view of the Saale valley and Schlossberg with vineyards. On field paths it goes in the direction of the day's goal, the Saale is to be crossed and the last piece with the train back to Jena. (ca.20 km, walking time ca. 5 1/2 hrs, /- 530 hm)

4.day - 3.stage Saalehorizontale

The tour starts with the train ride out of Jena back to the Gleistal. The path climbs over meadow orchards to the edge of the forest. Wild peonies bloom here in May and June, which also gives the valley its name Pfingstrosental. Soon you reach the large forest area of the Tautenburg Forest, on whose high plateau the Thuringian State Observatory is located. Not far from there is the ruin of the Tautenburg from where it goes further downhill into the village to then climb again in the direction of the rest area Torbuche. A place to linger and enjoy nature in worldly seclusion and tranquillity. Further deep through the Tautenburger forest the way leads to the Hohen Lehde with the steep slope dropping into the Saale valley. From the Serastein vantage point, a fantastic view of the Saale floodplains opens up to the city centre of Jena. Slightly downhill, the trail follows the slope with open areas of dry grassland to the Sophienterrassen with a magnificent view of the Dornburg castles opposite. Down we go to Dornburg, here we cross the Saale and arrive at the feet of the Dornburg castles. We conclude the day with the return journey by train. (approx. 20 km, walking time approx. 5 hrs, /-490 hm)

5.Day - 4th stage Saalehorizontale

The day starts again with the ride out of the city. In Dornburg the route goes through a rocky gorge to the three Dornburg castles. On field paths along the edge of the valley, the trail then gradually descends into the Saale floodplain to the village of Neuengönna. A short climb leads from here to the Plattenberg and follows over meadows to the Weidenberg. With beautiful views of Jena and the Zwätzen vineyards, the trail descends through green meadows and scattered fruit trees into the Rautal valley. A valley characterized by meadows and grassland, which shows itself in the rear part wild-romantic with rocks and small waterfalls. The path leads out of the valley into the village of Closewitz and then across the bare plateau of the Windknollen. Water-filled holes here vividly show the karstification of the landscape. From up here there are wonderful views into the Rautal and Saale valleys. In the west the bell tower of Buchenwald is to be made out and from the Napoleonstein the Saale valley can be observed in good weather to the south up to the light castle and the heights of the Thuringian slate mountains lying behind it. We follow the path towards Landgraf, a cliff-like view of Jena. This unique panorama is certainly one of the most beautiful in the city. From here on the path runs along the edge of the slope to the Cospedaer Grund and descends over steep rungs into the valley. It is then not far to the finish at Carl-Zeiss-Platz. (approx. 18 km, walking time approx. 5 hrs, /-380 hm)

6.day departure or extension

Unfortunately, the days have flown by and our tour is at an end. There is still much to discover, whether on foot or by bike, just extend your stay, we will be happy to show you more of our home.



  • 5 nights accommodation in a hiker-friendly hotel/pension with breakfast
  • 4 guided day hikes with local hiking guide
  • Transfer by train/bus to/from the tours
  • TourismCard for 48h free/discounted entry to sights and activities

Overnight stay in hotel**** optionalSingle room supplementHalf boardLunch packageArrival/departure by train


Suitable footwear is essential for your safety. Therefore, on all walks, ankle-high walking shoes are a basic requirement for participation. It is especially a factor on stonier trails for your walking comfort. We assume a surefootedness in the terrain, e.g. even on simple forest paths there are often natural or artificial steps to walk on. Some places have ropes and require a certain amount of head for heights. Suitable for children from 12 years.Condition according to the walking times up to 6 hours and the difference in altitude to be overcome up to 600m daily


Please choose a date in the calendar and make a request.

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If you like to book a multi-day tour, then please send your request to Guidebooker - we are pleased to make an offer to you then:
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Foundation 2011
What I offer: Hiking and cycling tours in Thuringia
Location: Nohra, Germany
Language: German, English
Booking: Tours with fixed price, Tours with hourly price, Individual Bookings
Profession: Agency
Foundation: 2011